Category Archives: depression

Deleterious effects of artificial light at night on health and the environment

Evidence summary on how our increasing exposure to artificial blue light is putting us at risk. And actionable steps on what you can do about it.

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It’s not blue light per se, but rather underexposure to natural sunlight during the day and overexposure to artificial light at night (ALAN). Step 1: Do the opposite of that.

 

 

“Bright light occurs naturally as part of sunlight and moonlight and, like all living things on Earth, we have evolved to respond to the daily cycle of light and dark. There is growing concern that the increased exposure to artificial light at nigh is having an effect on our health, wildlife, and the night sky.”

Your eyeballs are pretty awesome. Rods and cones and these crazy cells that respond specifically to daylight. The crazy cells, ipRGCs, respond to light, particularly in the green/blue range of visible and serve, in part, to entrain the central component of your circadian clock in the SCN. This is important and influences many body functions such as sleep, metabolism, immune system, mood, and even certain disease processes.

If you’re more interested in the environmental impact of artificial light (eg, street lamps), book recommendation: The End of Night: Searching for Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light. If you’re more interested in the human effects: Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival.

ALAN-induced clock disruption is said to have “flow-on” negative health effect — there’s no “good news / bad news” to this story (it’s all bad news).

Rock hot blue blockers at night. Use blue light filters on your devices like f.lux and Iris. Sunlight during the day; darkness, moonlight, or firelight at night.

Note those spectral sensitivities – we can see more green/blue than any other colors. Maybe there’s a reason for that?

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Entrain all of your circadian clocks. Full stop.

Skipping breakfast shifts skin circadian clock and enhances UVB-induced skin aging and cancer (Wang et al., 2017)… ok, that’s not the real title of the paper, but it’s what the research showed. And it’s kind of amazing.

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Regarding skin cancer and wrinkles, there are two basic processes to focus on: proliferation and protection.

 

 

These processes don’t really overlap: you want endogenous protective mechanisms during the day, to protect against UV rays, and you don’t want to be proliferating at this time because that would increase the chances of a malignant mutation being passed on.


Conversely, at night when the risk of UV-induced DNA damage is considerably less, it’s a green light for proliferation of skin cells. This is healthy, anti-aging-like turnover of skin cells.

We’ve discussed the importance of co-entrainment of your circadian clocks in the path: sunlight in the morning to start up the central pacemaker, breakfast in the morning to co-entrain many of the peripheral clocks with the master clock, exercise to get the skeletal muscle clock on board… but now we have another reason for breakfast: to co-entrain the circadian rhythms in your skin!

Consequences of skipping breakfast, going to the gym at night, staying up late, and having a big dinner: increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc., etc…

In this study: skin aging and cancer.

For the rest of this article and more, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

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Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders

Recent findings and current developments: where do we stand today?

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Great “Tl;dr:” figure ->

 

 

 

There is most definitely a multi-level bidirectional relationship between mood disorders and diet/lifestyle habits. Can diet cause or cure mood disorders? Can mood disorders cause you to eat/behave a certain way? Yes, yes, and yes. #Context.

That said, diet interventions present a unique and potentially useful treatment avenue for mood disorders.

Mood disorders are a significant source of mental capital loss with high rates of treatment resistance, in part, because we have no clue about the causes, full influence of their spectrums, or how exactly the effective pharmacotherapies work.

The ketogenic diet: why it should be explored ->

  1. Ketogenic diet has profound effects in multiple targets implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders, including glutamate/GABA transmission, monoamine levels, mitochondrial quantity and quality, neurotrophism, oxidative stress, insulin signaling, inflammation, etc., etc…
  2. Benign dietary ketosis is a very exclusive diet, immediately cutting out many of the potentially offensive foods.
  3. Malign dietary ketosis, while still technically ketosis, is full of unhealthy n6- and trans fat-rich oils, insufficient protein and fibre, etc. It’s basically the bacon-wrapped cheese dog version of keto.

Domains of depressive symptomatology of interest: anhedonia, rumination, suicidality, sleep disruption, appetite dysregulation, among others.

In this context, it may be perfectly legitimate to supplement a low carb diet with exogenous ketones or coconut oil.

BDNF BDNF BDNF!

For the rest of this article and more, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Intermittent Fasting and Goalposts

I may come across as harsh on Intermittent Fasting (IF) and I’d like to be clear about something. I’m not saying IF will make you gain body fat or die a slow and painful death. I am saying the quality of evidence presented in human studies suggesting it will benefit you somehow is #weaksauce. Further, I don’t really like the idea of huge refeeds. Like, how can 2000 kcals in one sitting be remotely healthy?

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Metabolic. Mayhem.

 

 

You may have noticed many guru’s sliding away from “intermittent fasting” and “skipping breakfast” and toward promoting a more circadian-appropriate feeding pattern. That’s because it’s about when you eat, not the precise duration of the feeding window.

The studies have been done:

 

Which brings me to the current IF study #weaksauce du jour and it’s implications. But for that you’re gonna have to head on over to Patreon! Five bucks a month gets you access to all articles and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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Still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light

-induced circadian disruptions in modern aging societies (Hatori et al., 2017)

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While this article could’ve easily addressed the havoc wreaked on most animals (hibernating, migrating, reproducing, etc.) or even many plants by artificial light, the focus is on humans.

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Dopamine regulates systemic glucose metabolism in humans

In Four. EPIC. Experiments (ter Horst et al., 2018)

Tl;dr: sunlight & breakfast in the morning.

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Dopamine receptors are downregulated in obese patients and are restored in long-term weight loss patients after bariatric surgery. It’s better to get your dopamine hit via sunlight than sugar duh.

This is some amazing science.

 

 

Experiment 1. 50-year old dude with severe OCD gets diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and is only able to get his glucose under control with metformin and 226 IU insulin. At 53, his OCD is treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS). His insulin requirements declined to 180 IU. He didn’t lose weight but went off quetiapine, so maybe coincidence because: 1. quetiapine is diabetogenic; and 2. DBS induces dopamine release.

Two-step hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp when DBS is turned off and turned on. BOOM! When it’s on, lower fasting insulin, and better insulin-induced suppression of liver glucose output, free fatty acids, & muscle glucose disposal! DBS improved insulin sensitivity in liver, adipose, and skeletal muscle.

For the rest of the discussion on these super-interesting experiments, head over to PatreonFive bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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Still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Cycloset (bromocriptine)

 

 

Go for a walk.

And #eTRF.

 

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Mutual influence of sleep and circadian clocks on physiology and cognition

“The 24-hour sleep-wake cycle is one of the most prominent outputs of the circadian clock systems (Heyde et al., 2018)”

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Sleep disruption and circadian arrhythmia induce metabolic, cognitive, and immunological impairments. Is it causal? YES.

 

 

Sleep is highly conserved across the animal kingdom, since the dawn of time.

Interesting comparison: unlike hibernation or a coma, sleep is highly reversible. Lots of rebound regulation: lots of wakefulness makes you tired; lots of sleep leads to increased wakefulness.

Studies have shown improved memory performance after naps and extended sleep durations. Imo, you don’t need to go from 6 to 9.5 hours overnight, but keep that “9.5” on your radar.

Diet is easy, just eat like an adult. You can go 10 days without even eating! Try that with sleep. No, don’t try that. Most definitely incompatible with survival. Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive functions.

As a marker of health: cognitive function >>> how many reps you can do at the gym.

For the rest of this article (it doesnt suck, I promise!), head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel any time.

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Still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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It STARTS with Sleep.

 

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Circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation, and human performance

“Much of the current science on, and mathematical modeling of, dynamic changes in human performance within and between days is dominated by the two-process model of sleep-wake regulation, which posits a neurobiological drive for sleep that varies homeostatically (increasing as a saturating exponential during wakefulness and decreasing in a like manner during sleep), and a circadian process that neurobiologically modulates both the homeostatic drive for sleep and waking alertness and performance (Goel et al., 2013).”

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Acute and chronic sleep restriction degrade neurobehavioral functions, attention, cognitive speed, and memory. Strictly according to the studies (not your n=1), < 5.5 hours is bad, < 7 hours is suboptimal, and ~ 9.5 hours may be optimal. Seems like a lot; who has time to sleep 9.5 hours?!

Above image shows cerebral blood flow (orange) in the same person’s brain during a Psychomotor Vigilance Test performed in the morning and afternoon. Interestingly, most participants perform better in the afternoon and this is associated with more blood going to a different part of the brain.

“Sleep is a ubiquitous biological imperative that appears to be evolutionarily conserved across species.” Mandatory for optimal attention and cognitive performance.

To get the rest of this article (it doesn’t suck, I promise) or if you just like what I do and want to support it, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel any time.

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate links: still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE.
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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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It STARTS with Sleep.

Social jet lag.

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Start paying attention to REV-ERB alpha

Hey team, remember when I was making wild predictions about REV-ERB alpha?

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“Food for thought: an endogenous ligand of Rev-erb is heme (the iron-binding element in red blood cells). Heme is degraded into bilirubin.  Elevated levels of bilirubin cause jaundice. A treatment of neonatal jaundice is exposure to blue light. Blue light is a major regulator of circadian rhythms and Rev-erb is an executive-level player in this game. The primary mechanisms of blue light appear unrelated in these two models (melanopsin activation vs. bilirubin photoisomerization), but seem intertwined, because heme activates Rev-erb.  Cool.” (From HERE)

and statements:

“Pharmaceutical-grade circadian augmentation = unwittingly better-timed meals? Improved body composition? …they were eating more and moving less. … One possible mechanistic explanation comes from mice lacking Rev-erb in skeletal muscle (Woldt et al., 2013). Mitochondrial biogenesis was impaired and exercise tolerance was reduced in these mice. Spontaneous physical activity was lower; thus, it stands to reason that Rev-erb agonism may improve skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. This isn’t entirely consistent with the drug study, but pretty close.” (From HERE)

 

REV-ERB is really really good for skeletal muscle.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate inhibits activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

 

 

Well, so does REV-ERB alpha! In a new study, knocking down REV-ERB alpha jacked up NLRP3 and pharmacologically enhancing it attenuated NLRP3 (Pourcet et al., 2017). The consequence of this in REV-ERB KO mice injected with LPS was hyper-inflation. No bueno. Mice given the commercially-available REV-ERB alpha agonist “Stenabolic” were protected.

I’m geeking out about REV-ERB alpha & SR9009. And fwiw, I don’t think anything will actually fully replace the benefits from actual physical activity and/or exercise, although it’s very hard for some people; eg, COPD, CHD, etc. In those populations, if they can’t exercise enough to really improve their condition, something like this might help. But I’m sure perfectly healthy people are going to try it. If you do, let us know in the comments!

For more about this fascinating research and how it can work for you (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month gets you full access and there are many other options.

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Regulation of Circadian Behavior and Metabolism by Synthetic Rev-erb Agonists (Solt et al., 2013)

Rev-erb alpha modulates skeletal muscle oxidative capacity by regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy (Woldt et al., 2013)

SERcadian Rhythms

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Poor sleep, “dietary disinhibition,” and weight gain

“Dietary disinhibition”

In school, the concept was taught like this: recruit a bunch of people and tell them it’s for a cookie taste-testing project. Give them a form with a bunch of questions about cookie quality (taste, texture, sweetness, etc.) and a plate of cookies.

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SWITCHAROO!

They aren’t there for a cookie taste-test. It turns out that some people experience “dietary disinhibition” wherein if they eat one cookie, they think something like “well, I’ve blown my diet for the day, so might as well just eat the whole plate of cookies” (actually, I’m pretty sure it’s way more complicated than that, but I learned it in a nutrition class, not a psychology class).

It’s not a lot of people — most would just take a bite and fill out the questionnaire — but it’s been replicated in enough settings that it’s probably a real phenomenon.

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